The Bartlett School of Planning

Dr Catalina Turcu

Dr Catalina Turcu

Associate Professor

The Bartlett School of Planning

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2010

Research summary

Unique researcher ID (ORCID): 0000-0003-2663-2586

My work and research interests sit at the intersection between urban studies and urban science and I have specific expertise on housing, energy, health and indicators. I am particularly interested in the social and governance aspects of the built environment and I mainly draw on political, social and planning theory. Methodologically, I favour mixed-method research designs.

I am also interested in policy applications of my research and work closely with cities in Europe, especially in the UK, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. I am an URBACT Expert and regularly advise on OECD, World Bank and UN Habitat commissions. For example, I led OECD’s work on the decarbonisation of the residential sector through a well-being lens (2019), and advised on World Bank’s Framework for Urban Sustainability (2018). I sit on research evaluation panels for FORMAS (Sweden); Nordfosk (Nordic Council of Ministers); ESRC, EPSRC and UKERC (UK); and ERC (EU). 

I am Academic Director for UCL Global City partnership Programme for Stockholm (2020-2023). This academic collaboration between UCL and the Stockholm Alliance (KTH, Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University) starts in September 2020 on the theme of 'Climate Change and Health in the City' https://www.ucl.ac.uk/global/cities-partnerships-programme

Teaching summary

My teaching philosophy sits on the dialogue between theory and application/ studio work. As an example, the sustainable urban development specialism that I am teaching at UCL draws on the Capstone approach, whereby students work closely with a ‘client’/ city to deliver a long-term-large-scale sustainable urban plan under academic supervision. I have also directed and shaped the MSc in Sustainable Urbanism at UCL since 2012, and supervised six doctoral students to date. I am regularly invited to give plenary speeches at conferences, and lectured at Oxford University, London School of Economics, Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology, Gothenburg University, TU Delft, Columbia University and Harvard Postgraduate School of Design. I currently teach at the postgraduade level and convene the following modules:

     BPLN0058 Sustainable Urban Development: Key Themes

     BPLN0059 Sustainable Urban Development: Project

     BPLN0052 Major Research Project

I have also lectured on Governance for Urban Sustainability: Key Debates (UCL, postgrad); Green Futures (UCL, undergrad); Making cities: the production of the built environment (UCL, undergrad); Urban Poverty and Social Exclusion (LSE, undergrad); International Housing and Social Change (LSE, postgrad); Urban and Planning Policy (UAUIM, undergrad); Public Administration and Urban Management (UAUIM, postgrad); Building Materials and Specification (UAUIM, undergrad).


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education | 2014
London School of Economics and Political Science
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2010
London School of Economics and Political Science
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 2001
Universitatea din Bucuresti
Other higher degree, Master | 1999
Universitatea din Bucuresti
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Diploma of Architecture | 1996
Universitatea din Bucuresti
First Degree, Bachelor of Architecture | 1993


I am Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Sustainable Development and Planning at The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, UK. I hold degrees in public policy (PhD, LSE), housing (MSc, LSE), urbanism (MA, UAUIM) and architecture (BArch DipArch, UAUIM). Prior to joining the academia, I have worked as a qualified architect for 10 years in the UK, Italy and Romania.